HouseHunt Network

A Blog for Real Estate Agents

Month: August 2011 (Page 2 of 3)

Homeowners and buyers urged to act fast on mortgage rates

By Jim Droz

Silver linings and seeing the glass as half full have been hard to envision with the recent grim economic news.

But plunging mortgage rates at least one sign of optimism for homeowners.

The average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to 4.54 percent for the week ended Aug. 3, according to consumer-information site — not far from the record low of 4.42 percent in November 2010. The average rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped to 3.68 percent, a record low.

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Fannie Mae’s defaults sink to 2-year low

By Jim Droz

The percentage of mortgages in default more than 60 days in Fannie Mae’s portfolio have fallen to the lowest level in two years, another sign that defaults are slowly but steadily declining as more homeowners pay their mortgages on time.

Serious defaults of conventional single family mortgages fell to 4.08 percent in June and July, compared to 4.82 percent in July 2011. Serious defaults peaked in February 2010 when they reached 5.59 percent of all mortgages in Fannie’s portfolio. Currently Fannie holds about $728 billion worth of mortgages in its portfolio.

Government-controlled mortgage company Fannie Mae said that its second-quarter loss widened as it continues to seek loan modifications to help reduce defaults amid the ongoing difficulties in the housing and mortgage markets. Fannie Mae also said that it aims to lower its credit losses while keeping as many families as possible in their homes and protecting property values.

“We remain the largest source of liquidity for the U.S. mortgage market, and we are committed to creating long-term value by helping to build a stable, sustainable housing market for the future,” president and CEO Michael J. Williams said in a statement.

Fannie’s rescue has been one of the most expensive government bailouts. It has received nearly $100 billion from the Treasury to stay afloat.

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Foreclosure problem driving people to rent, survey says

By Jim Droz

As the foreclosure crisis continues to wreak havoc on the housing market, a source of national pride has taken a sour turn. Home ownership is on the decline and, according to a recent Morgan Stanley report, the United States is fast becoming a nation of renters.

Early this month, the Census Bureau reported that the percentage of people who owned a home had dropped to 65.9 percent during the second quarter – its lowest level since the first quarter of 1998 and a far cry from the high of 69.2 percent reached in late 2004.

Yet, in a research paper issued a week earlier, Morgan Stanley analysts Oliver Chang, Vishwanath Tirupattur and James Egan argued that the home ownership rate is even lower than the Census Bureau statistics say.

In fact, once they factored in delinquent mortgage borrowers (the ones who are likely to lose their homes at some point), Morgan Stanley calculated that the home ownership rate is more like 59.2 percent. That’s the lowest level since the Census Bureau started keeping quarterly records back in 1965. The Census Bureau’s statistics, however, do not factor in mortgage delinquencies.

“The combination of falling home prices, limited mortgage credit, continued liquidations and better rental options is fundamentally changing the way Americans live,” the analysts said. “We believe this change is only beginning and is moving the country toward becoming a renters’ society.”

Many people are still technically considered homeowners who occupy their homes, even though they no longer make their mortgage payments. These “homeowners” can squat for months or even years because banks have been slow to process foreclosures in recent months.

In addition to the millions of people who have lost their homes to foreclosure, Morgan Stanley said that another reason for the decline in home ownership is that many of the people who would like to buy homes can’t get a mortgage.

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Report shows foreclosure activity on decline in most metro areas

By Jim Droz

RealtyTrac’s Midyear 2011 Metro foreclosure report shows that foreclosure activity decreased on a year-over-year basis in 178 out of the nation’s largest 211 metropolitan areas.

That’s the good news. Unfortunately for California, Nevada and Arizona, they just can’t let go of their stronghold on the top 10 list of having metros with the highest foreclosure rates. Florida is showing signs of improvement, however, with only one metro area in the top 20 — Cape Coral-Fort Myers at 12. Other metro’s on the top 20 foreclosure rate list were Boise City-Nampa, Idaho; Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga.; Greeley, Colo.; and Salt Lake City.

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Bad economy isn’t a valid excuse for poor real estate sales

By Jim Droz

An underperforming economy is not an excuse for real estate agents to do the same.

Agents who adjust to the times and maintain a can-do attitude will always do well.

In today’s world, one of the best ways to network with positive people is to attend training classes where you are most likely to meet agents focused on working harder at developing their skills.

In short, there are two skills you cannot delegate:

Prospecting: If you aren’t prospecting everyday, you can’t blame the economy for your lack of production. You might argue that you can delegate prospecting, but hoping a prospect hits your website doesn’t count because it’s passive.

Saying the right thing at the right time: Who are you going to call when you are standing in the kitchen and the husband says, “I love this home, but my wife likes the first home you showed us”? If you don’t believe that you make your living by the words you speak and you are not learning scripts, don’t blame the economy.

If you’re doing well in these two categories, great. If not, can you think of two more important skills you need to sharpen? Regardless of the skills you need to work on, be honest with yourself and start honing.

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